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Horses are relatively popular in the media. The relationships between owner and horse are shown to be special, so a desire to own your own can be appealing. Owning a horse isn’t as simple as taking it for a ride, however; as with all animal ownership, there are many costs to take into consideration before making an animal your own. If you’re thinking about buying a horse for yourself, take these costs into consideration before breaking out the checkbook.

You may think that the cost of the horse itself would be the most expensive part of horse ownership (and you wouldn’t be entirely wrong—they can cost anywhere from being free to millions of dollars), but the real expense starts before owning the horse at all. It’s recommended that you get a veterinarian to do a pre-purchase exam on the horse to assess its health, strengths, and weaknesses, which can cost up to several thousand dollars itself. If you don’t have your own pasture, you’ll have to board your horse with someone else. That’s another couple hundred dollars to spend monthly.

Maintaining your horse is something else to keep in mind. You’ll have to spend up to $100 a month for the hay, salt, and supplements needed to care for your horse, and around $25 or $30 to keep its hooves trimmed every two months. Add in shoeing your horse, and that’s closer to $100 every two months to keep up with it. Vaccinations can cost around $300 a year, but unexpected injuries or other health problems could happen any time. To be prepared for this, it’s advised that you keep a separate savings account for your horse or purchase equine insurance just in case.

Owning a horse costs more than just money. You’ll have to take several days a week to take care of your horse, maybe even longer if your horse is sick or injured. If you’re injured by your horse, you may have to take time off of work to heal depending on the severity. Emotionally, you’ll have to make the tough decision of putting your horse down, whether it be from old age or because you can’t afford the care needed to keep it alive. Caring for a horse is more than just monetary; it takes a toll on your physical and emotional health as well.

Despite the costs, some people consider horse ownership completely worth it. Like other pets, they can be there for you when you’re upset, be playful, and become a best friend. If you can afford to take care of your horse the way it needs to be taken care of, you may find it’s completely worth it too.